Reach the right audience. Build brand awareness. Solidify your reputation in your niche. Find those leads that are exactly right for your company. Become the go-to business for your expertise. Are those the goals you are trying to achieve in 2021? If so, a comprehensive marketing strategy is key!
As the go-to marketing agency in York, PA, GRIT understands the importance of performing market research and developing a marketing strategy that supports the business goals, focuses on the right target audiences, and outlines clear tactics that can be implemented to take your marketing efforts to the next level. Keep reading to gain insights on how to build a marketing strategy that is right for your business today!
What It Is Not
A marketing strategy is a company’s long-term, progressive approach to reaching current and prospective customers and maintaining a competitive advantage in the crowded marketplace. A marketing strategy is NOT:
- The company’s value proposition
- Key brand messaging
- A budget
- A list of campaigns throughout the year
- An editorial calendar
- A list of tradeshows and exhibiting events
- The company’s website
While each of these items can play a part in an integrated marketing strategy, they do not guide the overall approach.
What It Aligns With
To achieve the goals mentioned earlier, the marketing strategy needs to be effective, which means it must align with the businesses’ current strategic plan and objectives.
In short, the marketing strategy should align with the following:
- The company’s mission and values
- Business objectives
- Target market goals
How to Get Started
To begin building a strategic marketing plan, it is critical to perform market research to gather information that can help inform and guide the process.
GRIT recommends asking the following questions:
- What are my company’s strengths?
- What are my company’s weaknesses?
- Where do our opportunities lie?
- What threats do we face?
- Who are our target audiences?
- What do our target audiences think of our company?
- What is our culture like?
- What does our internal staff think of our company?
- What do our competitors look like?
- How do our competitors approach marketing?
- Who are the influencers in the market?
- What makes us different from our competition?
- What is the state of the market(s) we work in? Are they saturated? Growing? What are the market trends?
- How do we want to be perceived by customers and competitors?
As you go about gathering this information, there are many tools to utilize. For example, you could hold a meeting with the company’s executives to discuss the brand’s strengths and weaknesses. Or, distribute surveys to internal staff to find out what they think of the culture and how they would differentiate your company from its competitors. Additional methods include holding interviews with longtime clients to understand why they have remained loyal and performing a competitive analysis to review competitors’ websites, social media channels, advertising, and public relations efforts. It is also important to do research to better understand your target segments – Who are they? What problems do they have? Where do they consume information?
Once you have your information gathered, its time to work on the high-level parts of your strategy!
Build the marketing strategy by first setting measurable goals – and remember, make sure they align with the company’s larger business objectives.
Then, fully define the state of your target segments. What trends will you be seeing in the next year and what is going on in those spaces you need to shape your strategy around? Next, create buyer personas for a few key members of each of your target segments. A buyer persona is a sample description of a decision-maker or key person in your audience – what they manage at work, what their life is like, where they consume news and information, and where their customer pain points lie.
Also, remember to look at brand messaging – what are the key messages your brand will revolve around, and which key points are you focusing on for each audience segment? What points are the most relevant for your buyer personas in each target market. Lastly, define how you will measure your strategy – will you track leads, closed sales, signed contracts, etc.?
The Program and Tactics
The tactics developed in this phase of planning are what most people think of when they think of a marketing strategy. This is what you will do to gain market share and build business. What you do must be informed by all relevant information in your industry.
Bringing the strategy to market can encompass any number of tactics:
- Digital marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Company location/fleet vehicle signage
- Traditional media (outdoor, print, etc.)
- Event sponsorships and tradeshow/event exhibiting
- Radio or TV advertising
- Digital or print publication creation
- Direct outreach
- Sales alignment
- Print marketing materials
- Website content
- Public relations/media relations
- Internal branding and communications
- And more!
The many different types of marketing tactics and content need to align cohesively. A strategic approach to each facet of a strategic marketing plan lends each element power, and by using topics and content created across multiple channels (with the right tone and use for each channel based on the audience), including intentional calls to action and leveraging cross promotion, a marketing strategy builds momentum and drives the bottom line.
Remember, each marketing objective can be supported by one or more marketing tactics to increase touchpoints and awareness.
As you define your marketing strategy, remember to include a budget for each section of your plan, as well as tracking and measurement steps to take to discover the return-on-investment for each tactic. This will include allocating internal resources to focus on the right priorities.
A marketing plan, when done correctly, takes time to put together, but once it is in place, provides exactly what actions to take and how to monitor and measure if they are working. No more spinning wheels in hopes that something sticks! And you and your team can be proactive, rather than reactive.
We Are Here to Help
If you want to dig deeper into a marketing strategy or branding initiative, we are here to help. Let us dig deeper and put together a long-term, progressive marketing strategy that will keep your company moving forward while you can focus on running your business! Contact us today at 717.885.0014 or email [email protected] to start a conversation!